Startup Hub Babson Reports MBA Pay & Bonus Growth In 2023, But Jobs Were Harder To Find

Babson Reports MBA Pay & Bonus Growth, But Jobs Were Harder To Find In 2023

Babson Class of 2023 MBAs reported high-paying jobs like their 2022 colleagues, but salary growth year to year was less than 1%. Babson photo

Good news for MBA and other master’s grad job seekers can be found sprinkled throughout graduate business employment reports from 2023. At Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business, one of the last high-profile business schools in the United States to release employment data from last year, the good news is that MBA salaries continued their upward trajectory, MBA signing bonus average was up as well, and 100% of grads from a pair of master’s programs found employment.

But 2023 was a tough year for all MBAs on the job hunt, even those with an elite pedigree, with job offers and acceptances declining across the board. That reality is an undercurrent in Babson’s employment report, too: While last year’s graduates from the small Boston-area B-school reported an average starting salary of $117,627, that is only about half a percentage point up from the base salary reported by the Class of 2022 — a minuscule amount considering that Babson’s average full-time MBA salary has increased 39% since 2019. (All salaries are for U.S.-based jobs only.) In both 2021 and 2022, Babson MBAs’ starting salary grew significantly; not so last year.

School by school, once the MBA Class of 2023 found jobs, they reported high pay and bonuses: Few leading schools in the U.S. or Europe saw their overall year-to-year salary average decline (though many saw declines in certain industries, with tech continuing to feel the most heat, and bonuses fluctuated widely). The problem was in the finding, and like its peers, Babson struggled. Just 77% of the Olin School’s latest MBA class reported finding work after three months, down from 84% in 2022. Tech shouldered the brunt, dropping to 18% of the class from 24%, while finance also took a tumble, to 16% from 22%.


Program 2023 2022
MBA Starting Salary $117,627 $116,935
MBA Signing Bonus $35,108  $32,773
MBA % Employed At 3 Months 77% 84%
MBA Jobs by Industry Tech (18%), Manufacturing (17%), Financial Services (16%) Tech (24%), Finance (22%), Consulting (13%)
MSBA Starting Salary $88,714 $83,042
MSBA % Employed At 6 Months 100% 94%
MSF Starting Salary $83,540 $90,335
MSF % Employed At 6 Months 100% 100%
MSEL Starting Salary NA NA
MSEL % Employed At 6 Months 88% 90%
Source: Babson College


Babson is in good company in terms of the decline in MBA employment rate. For one thing, it’s not uncommon for B-schools best known for their entrepreneurship programs to report employment rates lower than 90% at three months post-graduation, even as other schools strive for and achieve 95% or more in a good year. (Just ask Stanford Graduate School of Business, where just 82% of the Class of 2023 reported accepting a job after three months; Stanford, a startup hub, usually brings up the rear among M7 schools because so many of its grads become business founders.) But more than that, in 2023 even the highest echelons of MBA programs felt the job search pain: Both offers and acceptances were down year-to-year at the 10 highest-ranked B-schools in the U.S., including all of the M7 schools, with offers declining an average of 4.8 percentage points and acceptances dropping an average of 5.4 percentage points.

But MBA programs are not the only game in town, and for Babson, a pair of other master’s degrees offer a counterpoint to the gloom and doom.

In the Olin School’s Master of Science in Finance program, 100% of grads found work in 2023 after six months, matching the feat achieved by the Class of 2022. Grads of the Master of Science in Business Analytics program also achieved 100% employment after six months, up from 94% in 2022. MSBA grads also saw their average starting salary rise nearly 7% in a year; the program’s graduates have reported more than 26% salary growth since 2021.


“I think one of the distinct characteristics that differentiate MS graduates from MBAs is the content focus of their programs,” says Margaret Jones, senior associate director of Babson’s Graduate Center for Career Development, in a news story by the school about employment rates in the MSF and MSBA programs, both of which are STEM-designated.

“MBA programs cover a broad range of business concepts, while specialty graduate programs focus on a specific area of business as their core field of study. For example, our MSF program primarily concentrates on delivering a strong quantitative finance curriculum. It complements and enhances what students may have studied in their undergraduate years.”

Jones notes the shift in hiring markets and employer priorities and adds that MS graduates are resilient job seekers.

“Perhaps it is because graduates of these programs end up with a deeper understanding of a specialized function of a business, yet their targeted functions span multiple industries,” she says. “It appears that a lot of companies appreciate that expertise.”


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